Low-Cost Ways of Entertaining Aunt Flo

carrie-sissy-spacek blood promAunt Flo has come for a visit. You know what I mean. It’s shark week. I’m surfing the crimson wave, managing a red scare, on the rag. And god am I tired of how much it costs. I just spent $5.50 at my local indie pharmacy for a box of 18 tampons; plus, of course, there’s the additional cost of pads and liners. There’s got to be a better way.

Well, there is, supposedly. On the top shelf at the pharmacy I noticed a box of Instead softcups for $11. (The sample pack online is only $2.50.)

Reusable Softcup is a durable, flexible, reusable cup that can be worn for up to 12 hours and reused throughout one menstrual cycle. Reusable Softcup has all the benefits of disposable Softcup—with the added advantage of just one cup per period.

You can even have intercourse with it in, assuming you like red light specials.

Still, I hesitated.

I’ve heard people swear by Diva cups ($30 at Target), and though I assume they’re the same thing I wasn’t sure enough to plunk down $11 in the hopes that I was right. Seems like the difference is that the Diva cup is reusable in perpetuity, whereas the Instead cups are good for one cycle each. Brokelyn highly recommend switching to some kind of cup for the sake of your wallet:

Assuming the average menstrual cycle uses 12 tampons and four to five pads, that’s roughly $50 per year. By switching to a $25 menstrual cup, you could save $475 over ten years. That’s $1,187.50 over the next 25 years.

Here are some things you could do with that money: buy a 1997 Cadillac Deville, go to Space Camp for grownups, or buy me two of the Marc Jacobs handbag I really want and then take me on an extravagant 16 Handles friend date.

Anyone have any first-hand (ahem) experience they want to share?

There’s more to period innovation than inserts though! First off, there’s magic underwear. No, not the Mormon kind, which you can read about to your heart’s content here. The it’ll-handle-your-period-for-you kind.

I wrote about Thinx once before, because I find the idea fascinating: they’re absorbent — up to 6 tsp, presumably of that pretty blue fluid women pour onto maxipads in commercials — anti-microbial, and stain resistant. I haven’t tried them yet myself, since I’m not usually the kind of person who spends $34 on a single pair of panties; usually I buy underwear in bulk and wears it for years. (Gentlemen, start your engines!)

For the more traditional, there are also period boxes, because as we’ve discussed you can get anything you want shipped to you in a box these days. Women’s Health gives an overview of five such services, which range from $13.75 a month to $30 a month. And there are reusable cloth pads: more expensive at the outset, but they’ll save you money over time.

Then again, of course, if your biggest problem is that you want to spend more money in order to hide the physical evidence that you’re fertile, capitalism has got you covered too. You’re welcome.

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